COVID-19 and Methodist Homes

Below you will find our latest information for residents, families and associates, along with PDF links to current resources from the CDC that are being distributed in our communities concerning COVID-19. Should you need additional information, feel free to contact the Methodist Home Community of concern directly, or call 205-951-2442 for the Mission Support Services office. For additional information, please continue to visit the CDC’s coronavirus disease information page.

 

October 1, 2020

Dear Residents, Family Members and Associates:

ALABAMA CARE COMMUNITIES

(Fair Haven, Wesley Gardens & Wesley Place on Honeysuckle)

Understandably, many questions continue to arise as we navigate these days as a community. First and foremost, the safety and welfare of everyone in a Methodist Home is our highest priority, and each of our decisions as an organization are rooted in that foundational principle.

Rigorous screening procedures are conducted for each potential admission to a Methodist Home. Additionally, all associates proceed through a similar screening upon reporting to work each day. Should an associate be prevented from entry due to illness or become ill, a return is permitted only after that individual meets the criteria set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) return-to-work standards for health care personnel.

Please also note that the regulatory guidance from the federal, state and local agencies continues to evolve. Significant focus and vigilance remains in place with respect to continual disinfecting of all areas within our communities, and I encourage all of us to utilize these practices in every environment. Additionally, please be reminded of the specific suggestions which have been published by the CDC:

* Wash your hands often with soap and water (for 15-20 seconds), especially after blowing your nose, sneezing, coughing, using a restroom, or being in common areas; wash your hands after touching surfaces in public areas; avoid touching your face, nose and eyes
* Residents should stay in their rooms as much as possible
* Residents & associates are to wear a face mask in all community public areas, as well as outside when social distancing is not possible
* Social Distancing practices should be utilized (stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times)
* Residents should immediately inform staff, if possible, upon the occurrence of any symptoms (residents continue to be closely monitored for any signs or symptoms of illness, including, but not limited to, COVID-19)

I know you join me in celebrating the recently released visitation guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which was embraced by Governor Kay Ivey’s amended “Safer at Home” Order (“the Order”) of September 30. The separation of residents and visitors has undoubtedly been one of the truly painful facets of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the restoration of indoor visitation will truly be a blessing to all. The Alabama Order makes it clear that visitation must be conducted in accordance with the CMS guidance issued on September 17 for both nursing home and assisted living visitation (including specialty care assisted living). Our visitation policy mirrors the CMS requirements, and the attached “Visitation Guidelines” outline the pertinent information from this visitation policy of which everyone should be aware. Briefly, CMS has expressly stated that outdoor visitation is preferred whenever practicable (e.g., weather considerations, etc.), and as you are aware, we have been conducting outdoor visitation for quite some time at this point.

Indoor visitation can occur ONLY if specific conditions are met, which are most notably related to a facility’s COVID-19 status and county positivity rates. Specifically, if a facility has had no new onset of a COVID-19 case of a resident or associate within the past 14 days and the facility is not located within a county with a “high” positivity rate (>10%), then indoor visitation is permitted within certain parameters as detailed on each community’s visitation guidance policy, which can be obtained by contacting your administration office.

For more information on how you can help stop the spread of COVID-19, see these Public Safety Announcements from the Alabama Department of Public Health, or visit https://alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19.

 

FLORIDA CARE COMMUNITIES

(Wesley Haven Villa and Mathison)

Understandably, many questions continue to arise as we navigate these days as a community. First and foremost, the safety and welfare of everyone in a Methodist Home is our highest priority, and each of our decisions as an organization are rooted in that foundational principle.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the State of Florida have established and adopted additional guidelines for long term care communities such as Wesley Haven Villa and Mathison. And at long last, we are OPEN FOR VISITORS! Hooray! As you know, Governor DeSantis made an announcement regarding new rules governing visitation in long-term care communities that is a wonderful development in the lives of our senior and our families. We know that everyone is extremely excited over this development, and we are too!

As you would expect, there are a number of guidelines from the State of Florida with which we must comply, and those have been put into policy and guideline format. The categories of visitation, training and required procedures are the result of the Governor’s Taskforce surrounding visitation, and we are most grateful for this guidance. Please contact your administration office for the specific instructions and guidelines for your community.

Significant focus and vigilance remains in place with respect to continual disinfecting of all areas within our communities, and I encourage all of us to utilize these practices in every environment. Additionally, please be reminded of the specific suggestions which have been published by the CDC:
* Wash your hands often with soap and water (for 15-20 seconds), especially after blowing your nose, sneezing, coughing, using a restroom, or being in common areas; wash your hands after touching surfaces in public areas; avoid touching your face, nose and eyes
* Residents should stay in their rooms as much as possible
* It is suggested that face masks be worn in public
* Social Distancing practices should be utilized (stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times)
* Residents should immediately inform staff, if possible, upon the occurrence of any symptoms (residents continue to be closely monitored for any signs or symptoms of illness, including, but not limited to, COVID-19)

Thank you again for your understanding of the fact that we are still unable to permit group activities, communal dining or inside visitation at this time. We are awaiting outdoor safe visitation guidance from the FDPH, and will communicate plans to families as soon as we have the guidance to do so safely. We continue to understand that connecting with family members is incredibly important, and we will make every effort to facilitate that virtually in any way possible.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING / RESIDENTIAL APARTMENT COMMUNITIES

(Epworth House, Wesley Scott Place, Wesley Apartments, Wesley Park Apartments, Wesley Acres, Wesley Acres II and Wesley Glen)

Thank you to everyone for your continued cooperation during this time as we continue to adjust to circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19. As you know, your safety and welfare continues to be our highest priority.

We are happy that we can now allow visitors to return to our communities, but we must all recognize that we are still facing the very real dangers COVID-19 creates. Limiting visitors in your apartment to one at a time will ensure that you can maintain proper social distance of at least six feet between you and your visitor at all times during a visit. We also recommend that you and your visitors wear a mask while you are together in your apartment. Visitors will be required to self-screen upon arrival for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and also sign in and out when entering and leaving the community.

As a reminder, the CDC has continued to provide specific suggestions for residents to follow:

 Wash your hands often with soap and water (for 15-20 seconds), especially after blowing your nose, sneezing, coughing, using a restroom, or being in common areas; wash your hands after touching surfaces in public areas; avoid touching your face, nose and eyes

 Stay in your apartment as much as possible

 Practice Social Distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times)

 Immediately inform staff if you don’t feel well and stay in your apartment

 Clean and disinfect surfaces often

 Call and check-in on your fellow residents

 Wear a face mask in public settings (covering nose and mouth)

Should you have any questions or concerns, contact your community’s administration office.

CDC Factsheet – What you need to know about COVID-19

CDC Handout – Stop The Spread Of Germs

CDC Handout – Guidance for Using Cloth Face Coverings